New Firearm Control Measures – Highlights
Gun control and firearm control measures have always brought about a series of debates, discussions and heated arguments between authorities, gun enthusiasts and anti-gun and anti-firearm activists. While genuine gun enthusiasts who use firearms for recreational or competition purposes or who even just look to purchase them to enhance their collection, try their best to minimize the level of impact of these measures. Anti-gun activists are firm in their opinion of bringing in stringent laws to curtail unnecessary and reckless use of firearms by few individuals. Authorities try to walk a fine line between the two.
The month of May this year saw one such reckless mind go amok in California. As a result, a total of 6 people were killed (three by firearm) and 13 wounded. Following this unfortunate incident, many states jumped in to introduce bills to toughen gun control laws. Several authority figures and politicians from a variety of states including Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New Hampshire and California have pushed the Congress to re-examine and return to dialogues on federal gun control laws as not enough action was taken post Sandyhook school shootings last year. Few states including California and Massachusetts have brought in stringent laws and regulations while the Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel has also joined in to implement such strict laws. Rhode Island, on the other hand is trying to increase the tax on gun and ammunition sales.
To highlight some of the measures those have been put forward in the last couple of weeks in various states / cities:
In accordance with California Assembly Bill 1014, any individual has the right to request a judge to confiscate and take away firearms from anybody’s possession. The bill which was introduced on the 28th of May this year by Nancy Skinner bore the title “Gun Violence restraining order”. The assembly was quick enough to pass the bill and it is currently in committee in the Senate. The bill was drafted last year and had about 12 sponsors. According to Nancy Skinner, this will be a temporary restraining order for up to a period of one year during which an individual will not be able to own, possess or purchase any firearm. It also provides law enforcement officials with a warrant to enter a person’s home and look for and confiscate any firearms he / she might possess.
If you are looking for more info on this bill, take a look at the same on New Legislation Proposes Gun Confiscation.
Massachusetts was a day ahead in introducing a bill on firearm regulation. The state house Speaker, Robert DeLeo put forward a bill to the house leaders on the 27th of May this year that aimed to thoroughly regulate firearm possession and sales. The law is likely to be passed in July. The measures included expansion of detailed background checks to encompass private sales, inclusion of private firearm sales under the “only through licensed dealer” umbrella, provision of enough authority to the Police to deem any individual to be unsuitable to possess a firearm, entry of all mental health records in the national db, toughening license requirements for gun owners and pushing applicants to furnish all details on every firearm they own.
On the same day as California, the Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel put forward legislation to the city council that will effectively strengthen restrictions on gun shops. This was a direct consequence of a ruling in the beginning of the year that required Chicago to create a plan to allow and regulate gun sales in the city within a span of 6 months as an overall ban of gun shops would be unconstitutional. According to the Mayor’s plan it would become necessary for all gun sale transactions to be videotaped. The plan also calls for restriction on firearms sales to one per customer per month. Changing the zoning for gun shops, putting forth waiting periods for receiving firearms and performing audits on gun shops every quarter are also in the plan.
A bill by lead sponsor Rep Gayle Goldin is currently pending in the state’s senate. According to this bill, an additional 10% tax will be levied on gun and ammunition sales to the already existing 7%. The amount realized from this tax will be distributed to local law enforcement agencies for anti-crime and anti-violence charities.
What you need to know about the Thompson-King Amendment
The Thompson-King Amendment Bill was a bipartisan bill passed with a 260 to 140 vote in the House. As per this bill $76 million funding will be increased to aid states in performing better and thorough background checks on sales of firearms which in turn will result in addition of more names to the NICS ban list.
Though the NICS Improvement Amendments Act was signed about 6 years ago, very few states update their existing lists by appending mental health records. This amendment will ensure that more names of criminals, fugitives and mentally ill will be included in the overall list for background checks. Various anti-firearm activists and groups like Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Moms Demand Action, Americans for Responsible Solutions, Sandy Hook Promise and Brady Campaign have appreciated the bill in its present format.
What you need to know about “Promoting Healthy Minds for Safer Communities Act of 2014”
This act with 20 co-sponsors, was introduced by Mike Thompson, the chair of House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force by which expansion will be made on the existing regulations on who is allowed to own firearms. Legalities involved in gun purchase and sale, a funding to explore gun violence, expansion of the definition of who is legally allowed to own firearms, provisions for the confiscation of firearms from those who are susceptible to self-harm, increase of funding to local mental health facilities and provision to allow doctors to enquire their patients on gun ownership is included in this bill.
Though many other states and representatives have shown interest in introducing their own bills, it cannot be said for sure that these bills will see the light of the day. As a testament to this statement, of the thousand five hundred gun bills put forward last year only a hundred and nine were passed. Yet if you have any reservations on any of the bills, it is always possible to register your opinions and opposition to your respective representatives.